Why You Must Make The Complex Simple

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A problem with education today is that many (many) teachers make their lessons too complex.

The result is that students become . . .






Again and again, I observe teachers taking basic concepts and twisting them into medieval labyrinths that leave even the sharpest students scratching their heads.

Noticing this, as well as the shoddy work produced, the teacher assumes it’s because their class is low academically.

So they dumb down the content. They make the reading level, math problem, or science project easier instead of adjusting their teaching.

The result is that students don’t progress as they should.

It’s a hidden problem few principals or academic trainers ever notice. Once it’s pointed out, however, it’s glaring and easy to fix.

What follows are a few universals when it comes to teaching lessons. It’s not a complete list, but represents the first steps to correcting the problem.

Also, like so much of SCM, each step has been covered extensively and thoroughly. If interested, please visit the archive (sidebar at right).

1. Talk Less

Most teachers talk too much. They use many words to describe what can be better understood with a few. Be brief, clear, direct, then zip it.

2. Pause Often

Pause often to allow students to think and grasp information. It also helps them make predictions and stay attentive.

3. Focus

Limit your teaching to the one thing you want your students to know or to do (the objective). That’s it. Keep the rest to yourself.

4. Add Details

Add details to provide context, dimension, and aliveness. The more minute and unique the better and more interesting.

5. Model

Demonstrate as if you’re a student in your class actually doing what you want. Be precise, step-by-step, and exemplar of the highest standard.

6. One Objective

It bears repeating: Focus on one objective. Seek mastery before sending students off to practice and embed the knowledge and skill independently.

Disciplined Speech

Bad teaching is when a teacher opens their mouth without clear purpose. Yes, random thoughts might be tangentially related, but you’re not talking with a friend.

Learning needs are different.

They require disciplined speech. They require taking what may be labyrinthine and breaking it down in a way students can understand and apply.

You must be hyper-concentrated on your objective and driven to 100 percent understanding. In this way, academic growth and progression are inevitable.

The upshot is that every day students get exposed to and are able tackle more and more challenging material. In time, over the course of a school year, they’re able to advance far ahead of their peers stuck in the classroom next door.

The teacher then, through the knowledge of excellent teaching and classroom management, is able to push the envelop. They’re able to continually propel students to higher and higher levels of achievement.

They’re able to do what so many say can’t be done.

That is, take students in this day and age, and no matter the school or neighborhood, and mold them into competent, confident, and motivated scholars.

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